Last month, Sen. Matt Hanson from the Nebraska Legislature’s District 26 introduced LB 986, also known as the Neighborhood Improvements District Bill.
ONE Omaha – on behalf of the alliance presidents of Midtown, North, Northwest, South and Southwest Omaha – has suggested the Urban Affairs Committee oppose the bill, which enables the creation of Neighborhood Improvement Districts (similar to Business Improvement Districts) that give appointed board members the authority to create a special assessment on residents and direct the decision making and implementation process for neighborhood improvements.
The alliance leaders represented on ONE’s Advisory Board oppose the bill for their collective belief that:
- Shifting the self-governing power from these groups to the mayor/city council will politicize neighborhood improvements
- This bill opens the possibility for corporate and out of state interests to influence neighborhood organizing
- Neighborhood improvement programs should be established at the local municipal level in partnership with neighborhood associations so cities and towns can adapt programs to fit the needs of their neighborhood
ONE has also suggested a number of successful alternatives that assist with neighborhood improvements while maintaining the self-governance status of neighborhood associations, including the longstanding Omaha Mayor’s Neighborhood Grant Program and the annual Spring Cleanup program, a joint effort of the City of Omaha, Keep Omaha Beautiful and more than 100 neighborhood associations.
We encourage you to read the bill and its amendments here and talk about it with your neighbors at your meetings. After you do your research, we encourage you to contact the Urban Affairs Committee and voice your opinion, whatever it may be. Here are a few tips to follow when contacting them:
- Briefly introduce yourself and where you live (city and state)
- Include a brief paragraph that outlines your opposition to or support of the bill (use succinct reasoning to defend your position)
- Thank them for their time
- Include your name and address in your closing
Below are the emails for the Urban Affairs Committee:
Sen. Justin Wayne, chairperson
Sen. Sue Crawford
Sen. Matt Hansen
Sen. Sara Howard
Sen. Tyson Larson
Sen. Dan Quick
Sen. Merv Riepe
Make your voice heard – this is how democracy works!
Julie Smith, director